Van Mahotsav: Promoting Assam’s Plants
Out of the total 78,438 sq km of geographic area, the forest cover in Assam is around 35.83 sq km. The soil condition of the state support indigenous trees, which has medicinal properties, besides having a wide array of economic significance.
Van Mahotsav, celebrated every year in the first week of July, aims at creating awareness on conservation of forests and plantation of trees among people. Introduced in 1950, this led to the plantation of millions of trees throughout the country. Forests, essential for our survival, also play a key role in water conservation.
Assam has been trying to promote and preserve the indigenous fruits, medicinal plants & herbs through Van Mahotsav 2018. Here are some of the widely found trees of Assam:
- Cultivation of Castor Oil Plant (Era) helps in environmental preservation
- Brings self-dependence through Eri Silk worm rearing
- The bark, roots and wood of the tree are harvested for medicinal uses
- Produces edible fruit that has numerous health benefits
- The fruit is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, iron, etc.
- Maintains bone and muscle health and strengthens immunity
- Scientifically known as Bacopa Monnieri, Brahmi is a medicinal ayurvedic herb that commonly grows in marshy areas.
- This herb has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic treatments for ulcers, tumours, leprosy, epilepsy, asthma, etc.
- Rich in antioxidants and other healing elements, Brahmi enhances memory, strengthens immune system and helps reduce stress, anxiety & hair fall.
- Tulsi is an indispensable part of religious rituals of various communities of Assam. Lighting of lamp before Tulsi plant is a prevalent practice in the Assamese society, especially as a part of Kati Bihu celebrations.
- Tulsi leaves or its juice act as an effective remedy for cough & cold and for ailments related to skin, nose, etc.
- It is a traditional ingredient in Assamese cuisine with medicinal properties. There are two types of Maanimuni mostly found in Assam: Bor-Maanimuni (Asiatic pennywort) & Soru-Maanimuni (Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides)
- Maanimuni juice has many medicinal values and help in stomach ache, blood dysentery, fever, skin decease, body ache
- Anti-bacterial properties present in neem help in infections, burns and any kind of skin problems.
- Leaves of neem help in treating dandruff problem and head lice.
- Neem twigs and barks are used as natural toothbrush for its germ-fighting properties.
- Neem oil is a great mosquito repellent.
- Neem flower oil is used as a key ingredient in various cosmetic products, aromatherapy, etc.
- Neem flower is used for treating nausea, treating intestinal worms, etc.
- Assam Lemon (Kaji Nemu) is an integral part of Assamese cuisine.
- As Assam Lemon is rich in Vitamin C, the zest and leaves of Assam Lemon has many medicinal values. It is also used as a home-remedy for many diseases.
- Used to make pickles, thus giving employment opportunities to many.
- Hollong is the State Tree of Assam.
- The timber from this tree is used in planking for construction of houses.
- Wood from this tree is used for plywood, railway sleepers, etc.
- Oleoresin extracted from this tree is used in soap works, waterproofing paper, as a varnish for boats, etc.
- Used as construction material, charcoal, plywood, pulp and furniture.
- Bamboo shoots are edible and is full of nutritional values.
- Young bamboo leaves are used as fodder for cattle, goats, etc.